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2005 rules - frame notching


swhiteh3

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Here's another one that needs a discussion topic, but is already somewhat de-facto. Of course, we've all been made aware that the Toneson/Wilstone entry is legal. We need to clarify why for other competitors. On cc.com, I proposed:

 

"AI & AIX cars may notch the frame rails up to half the height of the frame rails for suspension component clearance."

 

Also, as Brian intelligently pointed out, there is a question what constitutes the frame rail. We may want to spell out that things like the torque boxes on Mustangs are not considered part of the frame, but rather are considered to be a bracket, and therefore can be removed.

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One of the nice things about the theory of AI rules is that we don't require the technical directors to pour over each car with rulers. Leaving the rule stating no modifications to the frame is the simplest way to word it while taking the work off the shoulders of the directors. If it is worded to allow a certain amount of frame, people will start protesting about how far so and so's car is, or a debate about misc cars frame rails are bigger than X brands frame rails so they should be able to notch more and so on. It would seem to me that is too grey. No notching is fairly easy to see. I do agree that the frame rails should be better defined in the rules.

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Mark, I agree with you.... Man, my head hurts from having to say that so many times today!!

 

But again, the de-facto ruling has already been made that frame notching is allowed for KB cars. Do I think this is a bad ruling? Absolutely. I think that frame ruling is just another step in the escalation towards a tube-framed car. (Man, I'm gonna catch hell from Wilstone for that comment...)

 

But regardless, the ruling has been made. Now we need to clarify it, and enforce it. That's my motto on all these rules questions.

"Clarify & Enforce"

"Clarify & Enforce"

"Clarify & Enforce"

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I agree with Mark:

 

No Notching = AI

Notching = AI/X

 

But define what is considered to be part of the 'frame' of the car.

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I believe the following should apply:

 

"No cutting or removal of material from stock frame rails".

 

I see no reason why this should not apply equally to AI and AIX. I think other allowances should be made for AIX however, see "open up AIX" thread.

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Mark, I agree with you.... Man, my head hurts from having to say that so many times today!!

 

But again, the de-facto ruling has already been made that frame notching is allowed for KB cars. Do I think this is a bad ruling? Absolutely. I think that frame ruling is just another step in the escalation towards a tube-framed car. (Man, I'm gonna catch hell from Wilstone for that comment...)

 

But regardless, the ruling has been made. Now we need to clarify it, and enforce it. That's my motto on all these rules questions.

"Clarify & Enforce"

"Clarify & Enforce"

"Clarify & Enforce"

 

You are going to have to show me the ruling. I don't believe that a contingency sponsor makes the rules for AI. The directors do. From what I have been told, there hasn't been a "ruling" yet. Regardless, IF a rule has been decided for this year, that certainly doesn't mean it can't be changed for next year and beyond. That's the purpose of this discussion is to potentially "change" the rules to simply the class or the understanding of the rules.

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Why would we allow solid axle cars the ability to move the pick up points to where ever they want, i.e. 3 link inside the car , a panhard bar that is fabricated at home, WC control arms that are 38" long, a 50" torque arm ect and restrict the movement of the pickup points of the IRS? Is that fairplay?

 

The nice thing abou the KB stuff is that it is a purchased piece that anyone can install in any msutang from 79 up. This is not super trick custom work, it's a bought item like the Griggs and MM torque arm and panhard bar. If you want the IRS cars to compete with a well prepared MM or Griggs cars you have to allow the KB stuff.

 

Everyone still has to meet the wheel/tires/brake, HP:weight, TRQ:weight rules (in AI only). The IRS is just another way to skin the cat like a 3 link or TA/PB.

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I don't understand

7.12.1 Control arm mounting points are unrestricted on all cars but may not violate any rules herein (i.e frame modification).

 

Frame notching should not be allowed in AI.

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Adam Ginsberg

2004 American Iron Rules, Section 7.3 Frame:

 

The entire tub, floor pan, firewall, and frame assemblies including the cowl and windshield frame must remain in the stock position and cannot be relocated. "Cowl” is defined as the metal structure installed by the factory between the firewall and base of the windshield. Cars may not be “channeled” to raise the floor within the body or lower the body below the frame rails. The only modifications to these structures allowed will be in the following instances:

 

a) To facilitate the addition of safety equipment such as subframe connectors and roll cage bracing (i.e. roll cage may extend through the firewall to strut towers);

b) To facilitate plumbing or electrical access.

c) To facilitate transmission fitment or access.

d) For installation of a fuel cell or fuel tank access.

e) For exhaust clearance. This does not allow exhaust components to be run through the firewall, which is not allowed.

f) To facilitate installation of and access to ignition and induction components in 4th generation F-body GM vehicles. Allowed modification is restricted to removal or clearancing of the cowl/wiper bucket area. The cowl and firewall must remain otherwise intact.

g) The floorplan may be modified for the purpose of facilitating the installation of suspension such as a three-link type suspension. All components that intrude into the cockpit must be covered.

 

There is no ambiguity in this section - you cannot modify the frame assemblies, floorpan, or firewall unless it's for those specific items. Frame assemblies/frame rails are one and the same.

 

2004 American Iron Rules, Section 7.3 Frame, subsection 7.3.1:

 

Radiator core supports may be removed or modified but frame rails must remain intact.

 

IMO, this section require better clarification.

 

With 7.3.1, a competitor could interpret it to refer only to the front frame rails, as it's discussing the radiator core support even tho 7.3 says you can't modify the rails at all.

 

As a suggestion, "frame rails" and "frame assemblies" could be better clarified:

 

Frame rails - boxed sections, front and rear, that run the length of the vehicle, to which factory suspension components and bumpers are attached to. Frame rails and frame assemblies are considered one and the same.

 

Remove the part in 7.3.1 that talks about the frame rails to read:

 

Radiator core supports may be removed or modified provided it does not interfere with section 7.3.

 

I disagree with Scott W's notching suggestion, as it would be a serious burden on the directors to administer. However, clarifying the torque boxes in a Mustang vs. a frame rail is probably a good idea.

 

Personally, I believe frame notching should only be allowed in AIX, not in AI.

 

I'm posting this as a fellow racer, not an Assistant Director.

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Can someone offer some "tech" on why this is such a hot topic. Why is notching the frame rails in the rules to begin with? Thanks

 

Theoretically a 'little frame notching' can be pushed to the point where a complete hybrid IRS axle assembly similiar to something you'd see in an F1 car. Since the goal of AI is to have 'stock looking' cars with aftermarket parts - 'a little frame notching' is hard to enforce - what is 'a little frame notching' and what is a 'major reconstruction'?

 

The old 'give an inch, they'll take a mile' - the rules need to be strictly defined here or they'll be unenforceable.

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As point out in previous postings I can completely hack up my rear frame rails for wiring purposes and "conveniently" either run my KB arms through the same area or lower a solid axle car to the point where the axle tubes are resting within the frame rail envelope. I believe that 7.3 is WAY to open to be used as a reference because a smart builder would exploit this rule and could come up with some VERY interesting combinations.

 

Here is an example:

 

Using logic that has been approved in the past I believe someone could take a Corvette transaxle and install it in the rear of a Mustang. They could make whatever changes they need to make so that it fits such as completely removing the stock rear floor and raising it 5 inches (transmission fitment) or completely remove the rear frame rails altogether under the premise of transmission access (I agree it's outragous but why couldn't it be done? Then add a complete Corvette rear IRS (under the premise that any aftermarket transmission can be used and to use the Corvette transmission I'm going to need to use the corvette suspension). Although this contradicts other AI rules I am only using the Corvette IRS so that I can use the Corvette transmission. So I am allowed to do some things that aren't quite legal by the letter of the law so that I may build my car to the fullest extent allowable.

 

If you don't think that people are thinking of things like this you are wrong. It's only a matter of time.

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The frame rail notching has already been allowed in the case of the KB IRS stuff, right? Ok, that cow is out of the barn IMO. If AI doesn't want frame rail notching, then it seems only fair that the allow the KB IRS case to continue and throw a rope around the rest and stop it. Can't a rule be written to clarify the definition of the frame rails, clean up the allowed case(s) and better define them from this point forward?

 

I don't want to see an aftermarket supplier penalized for making equipment that meets the rules, have an AI participant install the equipment, be ruled legal, then have to spend the rest of his/her days defending the install! Worse would be seeing them have to go back and undo all the hard work and $$ already put into the car.

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You don't have to notch the frame rails to make an IRS or any other available suspension work. Don't modify the rules for the pieces, modify the pieces for the rules.

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Mark - KB's instructions specifically call out the notching of the frame. What is the difference between notching the frame, cutting the floor for a 3rd link and removing torque boxes for longer control arms?

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You don't have to notch the frame rails to make an IRS or any other available suspension work. Don't modify the rules for the pieces, modify the pieces for the rules.

 

Mark- I completely agree with you. But apparently the ruling has already been made. (JWL - Please correct me if I'm wrong - I'm about to start chopping up my framerails so I can run a lower ride height....)

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You don't have to notch the frame rails to make an IRS or any other available suspension work. Don't modify the rules for the pieces, modify the pieces for the rules.

 

Mark- I completely agree with you. But apparently the ruling has already been made. (JWL - Please correct me if I'm wrong - I'm about to start chopping up my framerails so I can run a lower ride height....)

 

Why do you keep coming back to ride height? You realize the our car is no lower than my 33 car or any set up griggs car right?

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Mark - KB's instructions specifically call out the notching of the frame. What is the difference between notching the frame, cutting the floor for a 3rd link and removing torque boxes for longer control arms?

 

Mark - I agree - we should probably move all three of those practices into AIX or AIU...

 

 

posted as a racer not a director...

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You don't have to notch the frame rails to make an IRS or any other available suspension work. Don't modify the rules for the pieces, modify the pieces for the rules.

 

Mark- I completely agree with you. But apparently the ruling has already been made. (JWL - Please correct me if I'm wrong - I'm about to start chopping up my framerails so I can run a lower ride height....)

 

Why do you keep coming back to ride height? You realize the our car is no lower than my 33 car or any set up griggs car right?

 

Define notch as defined by KB in their suggestion. The problem with that is notch could be an inch, it could be 4 inches and so on. Who is going to police how much it is notched. Policing that frame rails aren't notched or modified is easy. Measuring them is not.

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You don't have to notch the frame rails to make an IRS or any other available suspension work. Don't modify the rules for the pieces, modify the pieces for the rules.

 

Mark- I completely agree with you. But apparently the ruling has already been made. (JWL - Please correct me if I'm wrong - I'm about to start chopping up my framerails so I can run a lower ride height....)

 

Why do you keep coming back to ride height? You realize the our car is no lower than my 33 car or any set up griggs car right?

 

Because you obviously notched the frame rail so you could run a lower ride height than you could have otherwise, and therefore you gained a competitive advantage. How your ride height compares to a Griggs car is completely irrelevant. If they have an advantage, and can run a lower ride height than you feel you can, then go back to your Griggs suspension.

 

Simply designing the suspension to work around the car and the rules would have given you a car with the same ride height you currently have, and without having to bend the rules to your specific car.

 

IRS has inherent advantages and disadvantages. One of the inherent disadvantages in the IRS is that it's tough to package, and make it work geometrically. You're obviously finding that problem.

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Scott do you realize that you cannot run the KB arm on a stock IRS carrier without clearancing the rail? Ride height had little to do with it. The construction of the arm had everything to do with it. Get your facts right.

 

If we want to force the aftermarket out and take away thier support we should do just that. KB makes a product for the IRS that is comperable to what MM and Griggs do for the solid axle cars. With the Griggs WC arms you have to eliminate the torque boxes. With the Griggs and MM panhard you have to weld huge brackets and reinforce the rail. Why is that allowed.

 

this conversation is plain stupid.

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Scott do you realize that you cannot run the KB arm on a stock IRS carrier without clearancing the rail? Ride height had little to do with it. The construction of the arm had everything to do with it. Get your facts right.

 

If we want to force the aftermarket out and take away thier support we should do just that. KB makes a product for the IRS that is comperable to what MM and Griggs do for the solid axle cars. With the Griggs WC arms you have to eliminate the torque boxes. With the Griggs and MM panhard you have to weld huge brackets and reinforce the rail. Why is that allowed.

 

this conversation is plain stupid.

 

I have my facts right.

 

I guess I'd question why the heck KB designed an arm that gave no significant advantages, cost money, and required someone to clearance the rail. For buying a part like that, you're just not thinking..... or there is something else to the story. I'd replace it with a stock arm if I were you, since the one you're running has no advantages....

 

Welding to and reinforcing the rail is not cutting the rail. One involves removing material, one involves adding it.

 

What's amazing is that if someone mentions that they don't like cutting the frame rail, first you remind everyone that "it's been decided to be legal", and then you argue, on very thin ice I might add, why you did it. If it's legal, then there is no reason to discuss it. But that does not change the fact that I think it should NOT be legal.

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Can someone offer some "tech" on why this is such a hot topic. Why is notching the frame rails in the rules to begin with? Thanks

 

More "tech" please.

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John-

 

I'm not exactly sure what you're asking, but let me try to answer anyways....

 

The rules, as most people interpret them, say that you can not notch, or cut a section out of, the frame rails for purposes of suspension clearance. Brian Tone and Mark Wilson apparently got permission to do so for their KB IRS car, and have since (acccording to my understanding) gotten concurrence from the powers-that-be that this is okay.

 

The discussion came about because most people are confused as to what is really allowed. The rules still state (again, according to most people's interpretations) that this is illegal. So when can it be done, how much, and by whom?

 

I think the base issue here is that the rules should be enforced equally, for everyone, and everyone should know what the rules are. As Jeff Feit, a new AI competitor in our region, put it (better than I could have.....):

 

We can argue about the legality of the Wilstone car (as well as Greg Brown's car) but I don't think you will ever get Mark or Brian to concede that it doesn't meet the rules as written. Mark and Brian will tell you that they have emails from various NASA and AI officials confirming that the car is legal (and I'm sure they do) and point out that the KB contingency program was accepted so the parts are legal. The idea that something is legal because a competitor has an email or because of a contingency program is ridiculous. As an AI competitor, a copy of the rules should be all I need to know what is legal and what isn't, and based on what I have it seems pretty obvious that those mods are not legal. I shouldn't have to read all of the contingency programs. In this case I find more fault with NASA then Mark and Brian. They are just in the unenviable position of defending the car. Bottom line: Fix the damn rules!

 

I think that NASA should have a policy that the answer to any rule clarifications requested by a competitor be made public via NASA Forums. This doesn't mean that the question in particular needs to be made public, but if there is an area that one competitor wants clarified, the clarification should be made public. If this were the case, the ruling that made the KB frame mods and Brown's fender flares legal would have been known long ago. If the clarification is going to give one competitor an advantage, open it up to all of us.

 

I have a strong objection to modifications that are made legal based on parts from a given manufacturer. I don't care if it's a KB subframe or Griggs WC control arms, there should be no reason I can't do the same with home-built parts. If the frame mods on the Wilstone car are legal, then I should be able to modify a subframe myself at home and be afforded the same exceptions... which might mean that I move the UCA 2" and take a 2" notch out of the frame. Or maybe I decide a straight arm will be lighter & stronger, so I'll remove even more...

 

For the future of AI, the rules need to be clarified and enforced so that the top running cars are, and have the appearance of being, obtainable to the aspiring racer. You can't (and shouldn't) do anything about scratch-built cars and top-notch fabrication, but I'd hate for a potential racer to look at the Wilstone car, with the motor plates, setback driver, etc., or the flares on Brown's car, and get the idea that AI is out of their league. Although I truly believe that both the frame notches and fender flares should not have been allowed, the precedent has been set and I don't expect them to be made illegal. I can only hope that NASA learns from these mistakes and does something to keep it from happening in the future.

 

I hope Jeff does not mind me using his text....

 

I agree with just about every word Jeff uses, although it's at times a little strong for me. Also, I'm very glad to see just these discussions happeneing - we're getting closer to solving the exact problems that Jeff has pointed out.

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This is quite the issue!

 

Is there any chance that some/all of the 'various NASA officials' who approved the notching of this car could weigh in with their reasoning, or can they not comment on rules decisions?

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